Apologies in advance for the preachy tone of this article.

Backup is boring and everyone would rather not have to think about it - but it is important and it does require a level of effort - so it's both boring and work :-(



For a backup to be effective it must be 'off device' and it must be 'verifiable'. Off device in case your device is lost, broken or stolen and verifiable meaning that you can look at the backed up information and be confident that it's all there and in a format that you can read.


Important (part2):

Never rely on iCloud or iTunes backups. Reasoning as follows:

  • It's not obvious what is (or isn't) being backed up. Not everything is - and there's no way to 'test' or 'inspect' the backup to see if it contains ALL your stuff.
  • There is no formal backup history maintained - backups often overwrite each other. Great if you want to restore your device to its current state, but not good for recovering deleted data from a few days ago.
  • Restoring from backup means restoring EVERYTHING - you can't simply restore a single app.
  • You can't (AFAIK) get hold of an iCloud backup file itself to extract the content - you can only restore a device from the backup. Great if you have a device - not so great if the device is broken or stolen.

I could go on - but you get the message.


Important (part3):

I've had reports in the past where kids have deleted the app by accident when playing on their parents iPad. If you delete the app then you will delete all the maps - permanently. There is no 'special' place that iThoughts can save important information to guard against this. 


iThoughts (iOS) Backup Strategy.

In the menu under the 'gear' toolbar button is an option called 'Save Archive'. This will take all your maps and zip them up into a single archive file then send that archive over into another app. Typically you would use this to send the archive into your Dropbox app - or perhaps your Evernote app. Those apps will then take care of uploading the archive into the cloud - and most importantly - off your device.

iThoughts will nag you each week to save an archive in this way.

The archive file is simply a zip file containing a folder structure of .itmz files. To recover a map, unzip it on your desktop, locate the map and send it back into iThoughts.

You can recover all the maps within the archive in a single operation by sending the zip file itself back into iThoughts. The contents of the archive will be restored into a new folder - your existing maps are not overwritten.



  • Regularly use the 'Save Archive' option to send an archive to the Dropbox app (or similar)
  • To restore, locate the archive zip file in the Dropbox (or similar) app then use 'Open in' to send the archive file back into iThoughts.


Other options:

  • Configure cloud syncing - so that your maps are all 'in the cloud'
  • Connect your iOS device to iTunes (using a cable) and then use 'iTunes Document Sharing' to drag the 'archives' folder from iOS device to desktop. This works the other way too - drag an archive zip file or .itmz file into iThoughts via iTunes.

Windows/Mac Backup

You should be backing up your entire hard disk (and thus your maps.)

On the Mac, I'd recommend having a dual strategy as follows:

  • 2 external hard disks.
  • Configure one for TimeMachine (giving you a version history of all your documents.)
  • Configure the other as a mirror image and use SuperDuper 


I don't have enough experience with Windows to offer any advice - other than to say, you MUST have a regular backup of your system - you WILL need it one day.